After several mildly effective years as a starter with the second-division Milwaukee Brewers, Bones (whose last name is pronounced “BO-nuss”) began a pinball tour of the majors after being traded to the New York Yankees in 1996. Used mainly out of the bullpen, Bones never recaptured the form that earned him his only All-Star appearance in 1994.
Bones began his pro career in the Padres organization but pitched only briefly for San Diego in 1991 before an off-season deal sent him to Milwaukee as part of a package for Gary Sheffield. Injuries to Ron Robinson and Ted Higuera won Bones a spot in the rotation, and he responded by pitching .500 ball for the Brewers over the next two seasons.
The native Puerto Rican never overpowered batters, and as a result his success often hinged on how many ground balls he could coax from opponents’ bats. Even during his fine 1994 season — in which his teammates named him the club’s MVP and he was the only Brewer named to the All-Star Game — he notched only 57 strikeouts in 170 2/3 innings.
In 1995, as the de facto ace of an injury-riddled Brewers staff, Bones led the team with ten wins but allowed a team-high 26 homers and walked more batters than he struck out. That performance was followed by a 7-14 campaign in 1996, when in late August he was sent to the New York Yankees to replace the injured Pat Listach as part of a deal for Gerald Williams.
Bones was bombed in four appearances with the Yankees and was unceremoniously released after the season. Over the next three years, he tried to distinguish himself while spending time with six organizations, with most of his major-league work coming in relief.
As a member of the Florida Marlins‘ relief corps in 2000, Bones pitched as well as he had in years but made news in May by somehow straining his back while watching TV in the clubhouse. The strange injury caused him to miss a spot start.
Bones is married to a cousin of outfielder Ricky Ledee.